Austin restaurant news happens at such a breakneck pace that it's often difficult for us to cover anything else. But foodie Austin happens in the shopping bag as much as it does on the white plate. Our commitment to eating local (and well) doesn't stop as soon as we hit the automatic doors, so we thought we'd offer a peek at some of the new essentials in the AC Food grocery cart.
A best-kept secret in Houston, MALK's line of plant-based milks started popping up in local stores like In.gredients and Friends & Neighbors last year. We couldn't be more happy to have a fresh alternative to shelf-stable national brands. MALK keeps things simple (the unsweetened almond version only has three ingredients), never burying the nut flavor in "natural flavor." And the rich pecan milk gives a Texas twist to the whole genre. Try the maple pecan in a bourbon milk punch for a little Southern hospitality.
Lauren's Garden Fresh Squeezed Bloody Mary Mix
Austin and the Hill Country have long had many great vodkas and gins, but we have never seen Mr & Mrs T at a community forum. But even the tomatoes in Lauren Kelleher's mix are local. The mild is gentle enough for the kiddos, full of lemony zip, but we prefer the full-flavor punch of the original – garnished with pickled okra. Available at farmers' markets and through Farmhouse Delivery.
Owner Julia Strawn didn't just start Evergreen on a whim. It took her two years of research before her small-batch dream became a reality. First only offered at local coffee shops and tea rooms like Caffe Medici, Bennu, Epoch, and Pacha, the innovative chai now is available at the South Lamar Wheatsville. Both flavors are great, but we especially like the subtle licorice of the sweet fennel. It happens to go really well with MALK.
Daily Greens Chocolate Hemp Milk
Everything in Shauna Martin's newest drink is healthy, but it doesn't taste near what you think of as "health food." Instead, it has just the right amount of chocolatey lushness – the potassium, calcium, and other good stuff is a bonus.